1907 - N. & W. Bridge Falls in River

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Wed May 2 22:32:14 EDT 2007

Roanoke Times - April 30, 1907


The New Concrete Structure Across Little Otter Falls, Damming Stream


Water Is Backed for Distance of Six Miles and Old Bridge and Country Below Will
Be Swept by Flood if Dam Breaks -- Engineers Unable to Relieve Situation.

A great deal of excitement was produced in the city yesterday evening and
last night over the report of the falling of the new concrete bridge which has
recently been constructed for the Norfolk & Western over the Little Otter river
in Bedford county.
A report from the scene of the accident last night stated that on Sunday
night this enormous concrete structure gave way, completely damming Big Otter
river backing the river for a distance of six miles. Just why the bridge should
have given way is not explained, unless it was due to the enormous weight. The
Norfolk & Western is practically changing its entire line between
Blue Ridge and
Lynchburg, and in doing so let to contract this bridge to be constructed of
concrete, and which was to one of the finest bridges on the line. The
bridge was
about complete, and about forty feet of dirt was filled in. The whole structure
under the enormous weight or faulty construction gave way completely
damming the
way, as stated, backing the water six miles which endangers the
country below as
the dam may break at any moment and produce a repetition of the
Johnstown flood.
It is said that the engineers who have been sent to look into the problem find
it a difficult one to deal with and it is reported that an effort will be made
to pump the water out, though this, in face of the great back water
would appear
ridiculous. Should the dam break it would carry away the Norfolk & Western
bridge which is at present in use. The loss is so far said to be half a million

- Roger Link

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